Barcelona youngster Alex Collado channelled his inner Lionel Messi to produce a moment of magic in the team’s 3-1 pre-season friendly win over Girona on Saturday.
The 22-year-old arrived on the hour mark, replacing Yusuf Demir, and showed some real brilliance in the closing stages to win back possession of the ball and then see off the challenge of three Girona players.
The midfielder also produced an exquisite pass to tee up new signing Memphis Depay for a chance on goal in the second half. The Dutchman latched on to the ball but dragged his effort just wide of the far post.
Barca won the game 3-1 to make it two wins out of two so far in pre-season. The team’s next friendly fixture is against Bundesliga side Stuttgart on July 31.
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Koeman Praises Youngsters
Collado has been one of several youngsters to catch the eye so far in pre-season. New signing Yusuf Demir, back-up left-back Alejandro Balde, and young midfielders Gavi and Nico Gonzalez have all impressed.
Barcelona B striker Rey Manaj has also been in the goals. The 24-year-old struck a hat-trick in the win over Nastic and followed up with another goal against Girona before being taken off at the end of the first half after suffering a head injury.
Coach Ronald Koeman has been happy to hand his young players game time in pre-season, with a host of stars returning to pre-season late because of Euro 2020 and Copa America commitments, and took time out to praise his young players after the match, as reported by Mundo Deportivo.
He said, “It is very good that they take minutes and experience. It is a trajectory that we have started and it is not finished but despite being young they have a lot of quality to be here.”
Collado Talks Barcelona Future
Collado is one player who will be hoping to be part of the first-team squad for the 2021-22 campaign. The midfielder has already admitted he does not want to spend another season with Barcelona B, as reported by Mundo Deportivo.
“I am going to work to the maximum to have minutes in the first team. I will not return to Barça B. The intention is to continue working and stay at Barça. Nothing can be ruled out, but the intention is to be in the first team,” he said. “The team is very psyched, working hard. The first days are hard to get physical. The preparation stage is important, especially in the physical aspect, these games are important for us. The match is a test match, we are happy with the victory and the performance we gave.”
The midfielder captained Barca B last season but turned 22 in April and clearly wants to make the step up to the senior side. Collado was also on target in Barca’s first pre-season win over Nastic and so far in pre-season is doing his chances of promotion no harm at all.